The October issue of Metropolis explores the tools available to eco-architects and designers.
By Erin Weber
Metropolis is one of the favorite magazines among the CATALYST team. The publication engages us with design-savvy content and timely substance. The October 2009 issue, “The Carbon Neutral Imperative,” is particularly interesting as the articles explore case studies, tools and challenges about designing buildings and spaces that are environmentally sustainable. Examples throughout the publication also incorporate the importance of social well being.
- A case study of a carbon neutral neighborhood in British Columbia: Dockside Green.
- Info graphics depicting the flow of energy and water within various projects.
- “The Green Toolbox”: a list of resources and strategies used by architects and designers
- Tim Brown’s article about how design thinking can solving complex challenges outside the realm of traditional design disciplines. More is in his great new book Change by Design.
- The Bamboo Bike Project in Red Hook, Brooklyn where you can spend two days making your own bike. Some of the proceeds then go to support an African bike factory.
What I found particularly inspiring about this issue of Metropolis was the list of 16 requirements for The Living Building Challenge, sponsored by The Cascadia Region Green Building Council. The Challenge is a step beyond Platinum LEED and includes requirements such as: net-zero energy, net-zero water and responsible site selection. Furthermore, The Living Building Challenge includes social factors such as: fresh air and sunlight for all inhabitants, design features that inspire delight and an educational component for the public. These social requirements reminded me of Jason McLennan’s argument in The Philosophy of Sustainable Design that sustainable architecture will only be widely adopted and maintained over time if it is attractive on the most basic levels of human desire. (Low and behold, a little more investigating linked the concept of The Living Building Challenge to McLennan himself!).
Currently, two buildings are competing to be crowed the first living building: The Omega Center for Sustainable Living and the Tyson Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis. Both are featured in Metropolis and are worth a read!